Friday, May 31, 2013

Western Diet Triggers Colitis in Those at Risk

Heard of a study that was being published last year (although I can't seem to dig it up -- maybe you can) in Nature suggesting that western diets high in certain fats increases the risk of colitis in those that are genetically predisposed.  It might explain why we're seeing a higher incidence of the disease as more people switch to the western diet.  The introduction of these high amounts of fats causes an imbalance in gut bacteria, which could contribute to the onset of the disease.

Here's an excerpt:
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that concentrated milk fats, which are abundant in processed and confectionary foods, alter the composition of bacteria in the intestines. These changes can disrupt the delicate truce between the immune system and the complex but largely beneficial mix of bacteria in the intestines. The emergence of harmful bacterial strains in this setting can unleash an unregulated tissue-damaging immune response that can be difficult to switch off.
“This is the first plausible mechanism showing step-by-step how Western-style diets contribute to the rapid and ongoing increase in the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease," said study author Eugene B. Chang, MD, PhD, the Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “We know how certain genetic differences can increase the risk for these diseases, but moving from elevated risk to the development of disease seems to require a second event which may be encountered because of our changing lifestyle."

And here's the article: Western Diet Triggers Colitis in Those at Risk

DIY Fecal Transplants

Been a while since I posted.  Continuing on the news related to fecal transplants, a friend forwarded me this post about how do-it-yourself fecal transplants have become quite common amongst people with GI issues.  In particular, it references a study where 94% of patients suffering from C. Difficile infection were cured with a transplant.  Apparently the FDA is evaluating whether fecal transplants are safe, so that has pushed it "underground", which means that folks find ways to do it themselves.  The whole idea makes a lot of sense.  Very curious to see how the FDA proceeds with it.

Here's the article: Why DIY fecal transplants are a thing (and the FDA is only part of the reason)